What are veneers?
Veneers are wafer thin, custom made porcelain shells designed to cover the front of your teeth to improve their appearance; changing the color, size, shape and / or length. Porcelain veneers are metal free, resist stains and mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.
Why would you have dental veneers?
Dental veneers fix discolored teeth, worn down, chipped, broken teeth, misaligned teeth and teeth with gaps.
What is the procedure for dental veneers?
Usually dental veneers can be completed within three trips to the dentist. The first appointment consists of diagnosis and treatment planning. Here the patient explains what look they are trying to achieve and the dentist will examine the teeth to see if veneers are the most appropriate form of treatment, discussing exactly what the treatment will involve along with any limitations.
The next appointment will be to prepare the tooth / teeth for the veneers. The dentist will remove approximately half a millimetre of enamel from the tooth surface. Next the dentist will make a model or impression of your tooth which will be sent to a dental laboratory who will build the veneer. The dental laboratory process usually takes up to 2 weeks.
The final stage is bonding. Before the veneer is permanently attached to your tooth the dentist will fix it temporarily to examine the color and fit. The veneer will eventually be cemented to the tooth and the dentist will evaluate your bite making any final adjustments necessary.
What are the advantages of dental veneers?
Veneers provide the appearance of natural teeth,
Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well,
Veneers are stain resistant,
Dark teeth can appear whiter,
Veneers do not require the intensive shaping that crowns do.
What are the disadvantages of dental veneers?
The process is not reversible
Veneers cost more than composite resin bonding
Veneers are not repairable if they chip or crack.
Your teeth could become more sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks
Veneers may not exactly match your other teeth and once in place can not be altered
Although not common, veneers can dislodge and fall off so avoid biting your nails, chewing on pencils and ice.
Veneers are not appropriate for those with unhealthy teeth eg decay or gum disease
Veneers are not appropriate for those who grind their teeth as it can cause the veneers to crack or chip.
How long do veneers last?
Generally between five and ten years
Do veneers require any special care?
No, as long as you follow good oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing daily. It is recommended to avoid stain causing food and drink such as red wine and coffee.
Are there alternatives to dental veneers?
Alternatives include composite bonding and crowns as veneers are better suited to those who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just slightly. Other methods include the following:
Another way to achieve a great looking confident smile is with Clearstep Invisible braces. These very discreet appliances are worn over a period of time and will seriously reposition your teeth into a smile that you want. They are removable and so can be taken out to eat and drink (or if you are having a night out!) Most of them are made of a thin medical grade plastic which is issued in a set. Each one is worn in sequence for two weeks. You will be monitored by the dentist regularly to ensure smooth progress of treatment. They are very popular and are much easier to live with rather than the conventional metal braces.
For mildly crowded or "gappy" front teeth a revolution in dentistry is the Inman Aligner.
The appliance is worn and places a gentle force on the teeth to move them into their ideal position.
It works primarily on the front four teeth (either upper or lower jaw) and has the following advantages:
Easy to wear and remove
Rapid treatment time usually 6-16 weeks
Only one appliance is normally needed
Cheaper alternative to fixed or Invisible Braces